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2016-17 NFC Playoff Analysis: Let The Games Begin

[lead align=”default”]The field is set in both conferences, and the 2016-17 NFC playoff schedule features a few interesting games.[/lead]

The NFC North’s de facto title game on Sunday night determined the order of the last two teams to clinch playoff berths. With all of it locked in, we can play around with the possibilities and see how this might shake out when it’s done.

2016-17 NFC Playoff Games: Detroit at Seattle

In the Saturday Wild Card Weekend game, the Detroit Lions visit the Seattle Seahawks. Detroit got in at 9-7 because the Redskins couldn’t get it together, while 10-5-1 Seattle won the non-competitive NFC West going away.

Normally, one would say that going into Seattle in a playoff game is a horrible fate. This is a place where they typically play well, but this doesn’t look like a typical Seattle team. They’ve had some major offensive struggles, and on more than one occasion have let bad teams hang around. Detroit is not a bad team, but the Lions aren’t playing their best football now, either. Seattle will be favored in this game, and should probably win, but their long-term outlook is less optimistic. They’re a very average 3-4-1 away from their home turf.

Seattle thrives on its defense, which has been fine, but they face a Detroit offense that finds a way even minus Calvin Johnson.

As for now, the situation lines up very promisingly for the Seahawks as they get a first-round draw that’s slipping.

2016-17 NFC Playoff Games: New York Giants at Green Bay

A rematch of a regular-season game is the final game of Wild Card Weekend. The Green Bay Packers, now the NFC North champions, host the New York Giants. Big Blue are an 11-5 wild card team, back in the dance for the first time in five years when they won Super Bowl XLVI. The Packers were champions of Super Bowl XLV, but have made the playoffs since.

Green Bay won the initial meeting at Lambeau, though the Giants defense is getting better, even without Jason Pierre-Paul. It will be on them to see how far the Giants go. We also know Eli Manning is generally a good playoff quarterback: in 11 games, he completes 61 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and eight picks. It’s also no secret that he’s led a few fourth-quarter comebacks in his day.

Yet, Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP-caliber season, and this will be the task for the Giants. He’s also a great and very capable postseason quarterback with seven playoff victories and a Super Bowl to his name.

Two playoff-experienced quarterbacks meet, but one will leave with a win. Green Bay should be a slight favorite on their home field, but this is far from a given as the Giants’ defense looks good.

2016-17 NFC Playoff Games: Future

Should the home teams win, Green Bay would go to Dallas in an instant classic, and Seattle draws Atlanta. It could also be the Giants on their way to Dallas, but as we all know, it’s very hard to beat a team three times in one season. Yet, the Giants are the only team who have shown they’ve figured out Dallas (first-string players).

Seattle vs. Atlanta might actually be a toss-up, if you believe the Seahawks can play to their talent level. Atlanta has been here before but hasn’t taken that leap under Matt Ryan. It would be a strength-on-strength game, given that the Falcons have one of the NFL’s best offenses.

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